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RIMES provides expertise on Performance Based Seismic Design at AIT Seminar-Workshop

A two-day seminar on “Performance Based Design of Reinforced Concrete Buildings” has been organized by the Asian Center for Engineering Computations and Software (ACECOMS) in collaboration with Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Consulting, from 27-28 August, at the AIT Hotel and Conference Center (Bangkok, Thailand). RIMES Scientist and Seismic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation, Dr. Teraphan Ornthammarath, has been one of the key instructors of this seminar, providing expertise on Performance Based Seismic Design (PBSD), a new design concept for structural engineers to evaluate how a building is likely to perform when an earthquake strikes.

 

The objective of this seminar, which welcomed over sixty participants, was to provide consolidated theoretical background and practical knowledge on the performance-based design of reinforced concrete buildings, and to demonstrate the effective usage of structural engineering software for carrying out performance based design. Performance Based Approaches (PBA) have gained considerable acceptance in the recent years for determining and designing structures for specific hazards, especially earthquakes. PBA provides a rational and systematic way for determining the performance of structures using relatively rigorous techniques and tools, including the effects of non-linearity and dynamics to achieve specific response targets.

 

Dr. Teraphan provided expertise on the various components and process for Performance Based Seismic Design (PBSD) and Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment (PSHA) in relation to an actual project conducted for Metro Manila, an area in the Philippines with high seismic activity. Applying the PBSD concept starts by firstly performing seismic hazard assessment to understand seismic activity surrounding the building site. In that way, it is possible to determine the level of ground shaking that should be expected as a result of future earthquakes.

 

“PBSD allows the design of new buildings or the upgrade of existing buildings with a realistic understanding of the risk of casualties, occupancy interruption, and economic loss that may occur as a result of future earthquakes”, explains Dr. Teraphan, who adds that with this concept, building owners would know what level of safety and what level of property protection could be expected, and at what cost are acceptable.

 

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Dr. Teraphan during the seminar

RIMES launches its first Regional Training-Workshop on Iterative Risk Management for Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Practice

RIMES has organized its first Regional Training-Workshop on Iterative Risk Management (IRM) for Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Practice from 19-23 August 2013 at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Campus. More than 20 participants from 11 different nationalities and with a very diverse professional background attended this 5‐day event to understand the iterative risk management process in view of the complexities and uncertainties inherent in the management of climate-related risks, and to be guided by experts in the design of iterative and flexible risk management plans for their respective organizations.

 

During the last decade, climate change adaptation policies are being established and integrated in disaster risk reduction and development programs. However, many of these strategies have remained relatively ‘static’, without incorporating the varying complexities and uncertainties surrounding climate change, and without learning from and taking advantage of new information for midcourse corrections. To address this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the concept of iterative risk management. The training-workshop, delivered by experts from RIMES and partners agencies, featured a 3‐day series of presentations, group discussions and role plays to understand this conceptual framework; and a 2‐day guided planning workshop aimed at helping participants to design iterative risk management plans for the organizations by ensuring continuous re-evaluation.

 

Ms. Carlyne Yu, training coordinator at RIMES, explains that what makes this training-workshop different from others is the fact that frameworks and principles from  disciplines such as disaster  risk  reduction (DRR)  and  development  are  integrated  in  a  risk‐based approach to guide policy and action. “The 2‐day guided planning workshop makes this training very particular, since participants are provided the opportunity to consult with RIMES experts their IRM plans, not only during the training but also after it finalizes”, says Ms. Carlyne, who adds that this first group of participants has been “very enthusiastic and responsive, voicing out their concerns from the field”.

 

One of the participants, Ms. Hao Shanli (Program Assistant at The Asia Foundation in China), came to this training-workshop because she found during  her field work changing needs from communities, who demand more help to face this changing climate: “We should get prepared, learn more and develop more comprehensive and sustainable plans for communities. I found the workshop very practical and active, involving participants in group discussions. I learnt a lot, not just from RIMES experts, but from the other participants as well”.

 

Mr. Overtoun Mgemezulu (DRR Specialist at UNICEF Nepal) attended this training-workshop because he has been struggling on how to systematically integrate climate change and DRR: “Now, I got the tools and methodologies I needed. I am ready to bring this new approach into our next planning process”. For the participant Mr. Asher Shahzad (DRR Officer at Tearfund UK, Operational Program in Pakistan), the IRM approach was an unknown approach, but now he feels confident to make use of IRM tools and methodologies in his work, and to incorporate scientific information and climate change projections into disaster risk reduction planning.

 

RIMES will continue engaging with participants from this training-workshop through an online platform where case studies and other relevant information related to IRM will be shared to enable continuous learning through distance.

 

More photos on the IRM Training-Workshop at RIMES Photo Gallery

 

 

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Participants during group discussions

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Participants during a role play

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Mr. Subbiah, Director at RIMES, during a lecture on climate-society interactions

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Participants and facilitators at RIMES-IRM Training-Workshop 2013

 

RIMES and the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia sign a cooperation agreement

RIMES and the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia (Roshydromet) have signed a cooperation agreement on exchange of information and expertise, as well as capacity building for early warning, preparedness, and mitigation of multi-hazards, with effect from August 2013.

 

Under this agreement, RIMES will facilitate Roshydromet participation in RIMES Council, and in RIMES activities in the framework of the North EuroAsia Climate Center (NEACC) activities with regard to utilization of NEACC information products for early warning. RIMES will also articulate Roshydromet contributions at all international fora, such as IOC,  UNESCO and WMO.  Roshydromet will utilize real-time monitoring data from all weather, climate observation and other hazard monitoring statitions of the regional network for early warning services; provide expertise and consulting related to the development of severe weather phenomena systems for the benefit of RIMES Member States in Africa and Asia; provide its inputs of Global atmospheric models for medium-range weather prediction; provide capacity building in the field of mesoscale modelling for short-range weather prediction; and provide its inputs for high resolution models of climate change into decision making process of key climate sensitive sectors.

 

Both institutions will collaborate towards the establishment of multi-hazard monitoring network and observation stations needed by RIMES Member States in Asia dn Africa; conduct research in dynamical and statistical downscaling for enhancing of spatial resolution of climate change model outputs; and collaborate in capacity building of user institutions to interpret, adapt, and communicate probabilistic forecast products to end-user institutions and communities.

RIMES, at the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum

RIMES has been present at the fourth session of the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF-4), which was held at Kathmandu (Nepal), during 18-19 April, to develop an outlook for the 2013 southwest monsoon rainfall over South Asia. RIMES took active part in deliberations for assessing the available forecast information and for finalizing the consensus outlook.

 

The consensus outlook indicates that there is uncertainty partly because of spring-time predictability limit and partly due to likely absence of any strong forcing from the Pacific or the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season.  It also indicates that the large-scale summer monsoon rainfall for South Asia and the season (June –September) as a whole will most likely be within the normal range with a slight tendency towards the higher side of the normal range. In terms of spatial distribution of rainfall, the more likely scenario is for below normal rainfall over some areas of northwestern and southern parts of South Asia and for above normal rainfall over some areas along the Himalayan region.

 

SASCOF-4 was preceded by a 3-day capacity building training workshop on “Long Range Prediction of Southwest Monsoon Rainfall” for participants from the South Asian countries. Dr. Dilip K. Gautam, RIMES Senior Hydrologist, delivered a presentation on “Monsoon Forum Initiative for Climate Forecast Application in Various Sectors”. The monsoon forums are regularly organized in member countries with support from RIMES to promote the application of climate forecasts in various sectors for the benefit of the people and the society.

 

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Participants present at the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF-4)

Meteogram Generation Training

The objective of Meteogram Generation is to enhance the technical capacity of staff working at in national level hydro-meteorological institutions in RIMES’ Members and Collaborating States.

RIMES collaborates with Japanese Universities in a multidisciplinary program on innovation of space applications (G-SPASE)

A Japanese university consortium formed by the University of Tokyo, Keio University and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology has created a multidisciplinary program for innovation of space applications called G-SPASE, in which RIMES can play an important role in linking this field to disaster risk reduction.

 

G-SPASE is a two-year international education program on multidisciplinary integration for space technology, geospatial information technology and social infrastructure. The curriculum focuses on the utilization of space technology to tackle societal issues on the ground. The program will be launched in April 2013, supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

 

 

Dr. Teraphan Ornthammarath, Seismic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Scientist at RIMES, joined the International Symposium for G-SPASE Technology, celebrated on 3rd -6th of March in Tokyo, to share RIMES’s work on disaster risk reduction and how this field can be linked to space technology. According to Dr. Teraphan, “space technologies are becoming increasingly vital to modern day disaster management activities. Its application could offer us more tools to better respond to natural disasters”.

IIHS and BRAC visit RIMES Facility to enhance their understanding on disaster risk management

A total of 17 practitioners from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and 17 professionals from the Bangladeshi NGO BRAC have visited RIMES Facility, in March and February respectively, in order to enhance their understanding on disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and RIMES initiatives on early warning systems.

 

IIHS has recently launched India’s first interdisciplinary full-time practice based program in urban development to address India’s complex urban challenges. As part of the program, practitioners have completed a training and exposure visit at RIMES Facility on 14th of March. Participants were able to understand the situation in Bangkok regarding flood management and preparedness, as well as RIMES’s work in early warning systems.

 

 Practitioners from IIHS receiving a presentation by RIMES staff about the flood forecasting

 

From 10th-15th of February, BRAC professionals participated in a training and exposure visit on Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation organized by RIMES to build the NGO capacity on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, food security and agriculture risk management. As part of the program, RIMES organized field visits in Thailand for BRAC staff: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation (DDPM), the Royal Irrigation Project on flood risk management and the Agriculture Project in Chasoansoa Province.

 

Visit of BRAC to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)

Visit of BRAC to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)

AIT announces its course program for 2012-2013

The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has announced its course program for 2012-2013. AIT’s degree programs are provided by its School of Engineering and Technology (SET); School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD); and School of Management (SOM). AIT is also involved in various Erasmus Mundus academic cooperation mobility programs offered by the European Union.

 

Founded in 1959, AIT operates as a self-contained international community at its main campus located in Pathumthani, Thailand. It also delivers some of its programs at its centers in Vietnam and Indonesia. AIT is an International Intergovernmental Organization that carries out the following mission: “to develop highly qualified and committed professionals who play a leading role in the region’s sustainable development and its integration into the global economy” by supporting technological change and sustainable development through higher learning, research, capacity building and outreach.

 

The Prospectus/Course Catalogue 2012-2013 can be found in the following link: AIT Prospectus Catalogue 2012 -2013

RIMES research on nested WRF model performance in typhoon simulations over West Pacific and South China Sea, featured in the Natural Hazards journal

The study on “Performance of nested weather research and forecasting (WRF) model in typhoon simulations over West Pacific and South China Sea” has been featured in the Natural Hazards journal. The research, led by Dr. Jayaraman Potty, RIMES Chief Scientist for Severe Weather and Climate Information, tested the forecasting skill of the WRF model in simulating typhoon track direction and intensity at 9km and 3km resolutions.  Four cases were considered in the WRF performance evaluation:  a typhoon that veered off-course to the left before landfall; one that veered off-course to the right before landfall; one that reversed direction before landfall; and one that followed an almost straight line path.

 

Results show that model resolution has less effect on track prediction.  Model runs at 3km resolution gave slightly better predictions of central pressure drop and maximum wind, as well as typhoon motion speed.  Track forecast error increases almost linearly up to 48 hours of simulations, and thereafter diverges quickly.  At both resolutions, the WRF model simulates the salient features (e.g. warm central core, radial increase of wind speed, etc.) of typhoons.

 

The authors of this research are Dr. Jayaraman Potty, Dr. P.V.S. Raju, Prof. U. C. Mohanty (Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, India), and S.M. Oo (Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), Myanmar). The last author participated in RIMES Secondment Program from 2008-2010, receiving training on WRF and climate change modeling.  Mr. Oo contributed significantly to DMH inputs to the country’s initial national communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The paper is available at SpringerLink:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11069-011-0074-4

Bangladesh flood early warning system fosters dialogue between scientists and communities

Dialogue between scientists and communities is essential to understand uncertain information for managing disaster risks.  The Bangladesh flood early warning system is an example of such a dialogue process, helping at-risk communities to make decisions in uncertain situations and safeguard their livelihoods.

 

Under this flood early warning system, forecasts of up to 10 days lead time provide information on flood onset, duration, and recession.  This forecast lead time offers sufficient time for forecast interpretation and translation by resource and disaster managers, and communication of associated risks and appropriate responses through established communication channels, such as short message service (SMS) bulletins.  The US-based Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) developed the flood forecasting model in collaboration with the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).  A strong institutional network, involving a National Steering Committee and local working groups consisting of Union Disaster Management Committees and partner NGOs, was established for demonstration of forecast application in reducing disaster risks.  Capacity of Bangladeshi scientists to manage the flood forecast technology was built, and people in pilot communities were trained to understand and use the forecast in decision-making.

 

Utility of the probabilistic forecast was demonstrated in the July-August 2007 floods.  Local government organizations, NGOs, and community-based organizations planned for and mobilized resources for emergency response, and people stored food and drinking water for 15 days, anticipating that relief usually comes 7 days after the initial flooding only, secured cooking stoves and firewood, moved livestock to higher ground and stored animal fodder, abandoned paddy transplanting and secured additional seeds for use after the floods, and planned for alternative livelihoods for the flood duration.  An evaluation of the economic benefit of the flood early warning system revealed a return of investment of USD 559 for each dollar of investment.

 

RIMES assists in the further development and transfer of the flood forecasting technology to Bangladeshi institutions, and continues to engage with local level institutions in forecast application.  Benefits of this dialogue process between scientists and communities are highlighted in the article written by Emma Visman of the King’s College London, Benedict Dempsey of Save the Children (London), and SHM Fakhruddin of RIMES, for the SciDev.Net, which could be found at:

http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/improving-early-warning-of-disasters/opinions/understanding-uncertainty-to-prevent-humanitarian-crises-1.html